Species page of Myriopholis algeriensis

Beaked Thread-snake
Myriopholis algeriensis (Jacquet, 1895)

By Gabriel Martínez del Mármol Marín

Updated: 23/09/2012

Taxonomy: Serpentes | Leptotyphlopidae | Myriopholis | Myriopholis algeriensis

Myriopholis algeriensis
Myriopholis algeriensis. Tazenakht. Photo: © Raúl León.

Range map of Myriopholis algeriensis

  Myriopholis algeriensis

Distribution map of
Myriopholis algeriensis
in Morocco.



Gallery: 15 photos. [ENTER]

Phylogenetic frame

In the past was known as Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus subspecies (Hahn & Wallach, 1998), was elevated to species rank in 2002 (Trapé, 2002) and it has been including in Myriopholis genus in 2009 (Adalsteinsson et al., 2009).


It´s the smallest snake in Morocco and Western Sahara with a maximum size of 28,5 cm (Bons & Geniez, 1996; Trape & Mané, 2006). It has a pinkish body, thin and large. Head not differs from the rest of the body. Eyes are black and relatively big, covered by two transparent scales. It has a big rostral scale very prominent and in peak form. Its mouth is small. Ventral scales are similar to dorsal scales. It has between 490-569 longitudinal scales, between 41-47 subcaudal scales, it has 14 scales at midbody and 10 at the middle of the tail (Trape & Mané, 2006).

Myriopholis algeriensis
Myriopholis algeriensis. Errachidia. Photo: © Gabri Mtnez.

Ecology and habits

Species predominantly crepuscular and nocturnal (Schleich et al., 1996; Trape & Mané, 2006). Its fossorial habits make it pass unnoticed and very little is known about this species. He spends most of his life underground, usually under big stones, where it feeds on ant larvae that are their main prey (Bons & Geniez, 1996; Trape & Mané, 2006).

In the outskirts of Tazenakht (Morocco) were recently found 4 adult individuals of this species under the same stone (B. Rebollo Fernandez & G. Martinez del Marmol Marin, unpublished) and because it was in may, the mating season of most snakes species in Morocco, it could be a meeting with reproduction ends, as this is common in other species of the genus Myriopholis (M. macrorhynchus; B. Göçmen, pers. comm.)

Distribution, habitat and abundance

It occurs in deserts, semi-arid and arid areas in the pre-Saharan margins in Morocco and has been located in the Western Sahara just few times (Bons & Geniez, 1996; Geniez et al., 2004).

Like other snakes of pre-Saharan areas must have higher densities in the oases and oueds where the food is more abundant.

Habitat of Myriopholis algeriensis

Habitat of Myriopholis algeriensis
Typical habitat of Myriopholis algeriensis. Top: General landscape. Below. Detail. Errachidia. Photo: © Gabri Mtnez.

There are just a few records of this snake, although it can be due to its fossorial habits and the difficulty of finding this species, and the real distribution and abundance could be higher of the actually known.


    • Adalsteinsson, S.A., Branch, W.R., Trapé, S., Vitt, L.J. & Hedges, S.B. 2009. Molecular phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of snakes of the Family Leptotyphlopidae (Reptilia, Squamata). Zootaxa, 2244: 1-50
    • Bons, J. & Geniez, P. 1996. Amphibiens et reptiles du Maroc (Sahara Occidental compris). Atlas Biogéographique. Asociacion Herpetologica Espanola, Barcelone. 319 pp.
    • Geniez, P., Mateo, J.A., Geniez, M. & Pether, J. 2004. The amphibians and reptiles of the Western Sahara (former Spanish Sahara) and adjacent regions. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 228 pp.
    • Hahn, D. E. & V. Wallach, 1998. Comments on the systematics of Old World Leptotyphlops (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae), with description of a new species. Hamadryad, 23: 50-62
    • Trape, J.-F. 2002. Note sur le statut et la répartition de quelques Leptotyphlopidés (Serpentes: Scolecophidia) du Sahara et des savanes d’Afrique de l’Ouest. Bull. Soc. Herp. France, 102: 49-62
    • Trape, J.-F. & Mané, Y. 2006. Guide des serpents d’Afrique occidentale. Savane et désert. IRD Editions, Paris, 226 pp.
    • Schleich, H. H., Kastle, W., & Kabisch, K. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa. Koeltz Scientific Publishers, Koenigstein. 630 pp.

To cite this page:
Gabriel Martínez del Mármol Marín (2012): Myriopholis algeriensis (Jacquet, 1895). In: Martínez, G., León, R., Jiménez-Robles, O., González De la Vega, J. P., Gabari, V., Rebollo, B., Sánchez-Tójar, A., Fernández-Cardenete, J. R., Gállego, J. (Eds.). Moroccoherps. Amphibians and Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara. Available from www.moroccoherps.com/en/ficha/­Myriopholis_algeriensis/. Version 23/09/2012.

To cite www.morocoherps.com en as a whole:
Martínez, G., León, R., Jiménez-Robles, O., González De la Vega, J.P., Gabari, V., Rebollo, B., Sánchez-Tójar, A., Fernández-Cardenete, J.R., Gállego, J. (Eds.). Moroccoherps. Amphibians and Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara. Available from www.moroccoherps.com.